Musica Viva, one of the many smaller performing arts organizations in the Washington area – oft overlooked but more often than not contributing greatly to the regions’ cultural life, gave a very generous program last Tuesday, May 23, at the Ratner Museum in Bethesda.
Musica Viva, anchored by pianist and Executive Director Carl Banner, is essentially a piano-with-strings quintet with guest artists. Tuesday the guests were husband-and-wife vocalists Gary Poster, bass, and Karyn Friedman, mezzo-soprano, both with Eastman School degrees. This is an impressive pair: Mr. Poster, accompanied by string quartet and Mr. Banner as continuo (on piano), gave a lyrical, well-phrased account of Bach’s Ich habe genug. Bach’s long-lost original with soprano sax (played eloquently but a bit forcefully by Rhonda Buckley) in place of oboe was used (maybe not 'original,' but Bach was never shy about transcribing his own, or others’, music). Fans of the “historically authentic” approach may question it, but this ‘bass-and-sax’ version was nice enough on the ears.
E. Bloch, Piano Quintets, Ivan Klánský / Kocian Q4t